Hallandale Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Unable to start in last week's Holy Bull Stakes, Wildcat Red returned to the winner's circle in Saturday's $200,000 Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Wildcat Red, trained by Jose Garoffalo, was making his sixth consecutive start at Gulfstream versus eight other 3-year-olds. Ridden by Javier Castellano for the first time, the colt stalked the pace being set by Gambler's Ghost and drew even with the leader entering the stretch.
Owned by Honors Stable, 2-1 favorite Wildcat Red drove to the lead with a furlong to run and proceeded to post a 4 3/4-length victory over C. Zee. Pablo Del Monte was third followed by Long On Value, Spot, Tashir, Mighty Brown, Trail Blaze and Gambler's Ghost. Vinceremos was scratched and won the Sam. F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs 45 minutes earlier.
The time for the seven-furlongs was 1:22.21 on a fast track.
Wildcat Red picked up $120,000 with the win. The colt has won three of five starts for $220,850.
"He did the job today. I was confident in this horse since the beginning," said Garoffalo. "He showed he can go longer. He's more relaxed now, he's more mature now, so he can run better. He can relax himself in the race so that's a sign that a good horse is coming."
The Hutcheson was Wildcat Red's first start since finishing second to General a Rod in the Gulfstream Park Derby on Jan. 1. The colt was held out of last week's Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream with an illness.
"It was an infection in the throat, some mucus in the upper windpipe," Garoffalo explained. "It wasn't a big deal really, but we didn't want to take the chance to run in the previous race (Holy Bull). We waited for this race, and the horse fit pretty good in this spot. He proved he was the best horse in the race, as we were expecting."
Wildcat Red returned $6.00, $3.80 and $2.60. C. Zee paid $6.40 and $3.60, and Pablo Del Monte paid $3.00 to show.